Now that we’re nearing the end of the season, I rounded up my best and worst purchases from spring-summer 2021. I often do a post like this at the end of the year, but I end up focusing more on fall-winter just because of the timing, so I thought I’d do one for spring-summer as well.
My 10 Best Purchases of Spring/Summer 2021
These are things that I purchased this year and have used a ton. The cost per wear on each of these items is low, even if the price tag is high. If you snagged some of these, let me know how they worked for you!
#1. LOFT Linen Dolman Tee // I find myself reaching for this top several times a week because it’s such a nice summer basic. The linen fabric is lightweight and breathable, and the relaxed fit and easy drape makes it flattering and effortlessly chic. Plus black goes so well with all the denim, white, and olive pants in my closet. This tee was restocked earlier in the week, but promptly sold out again. It does come in other colors, but it’s very thin, so the lighter tones might be see-through. The black is fine, but it really needs a black bra. I wasn’t wearing one in the picture above, but I always do now.
#2. Mother The Insider Cropped Step Hem Jeans in Dancing On Coals // I was hesitant about these when I first got them, but I knew I loved the fit and wash and the distressed details. As it turns out, they’ve easily been the most-worn bottoms in my spring/summer wardrobe. Besides being uber casual and fashion-forward, they’re supremely comfortable. I like these so much that I have them in white and black and this light denim wash, but this pair is by far the softest. For some reason, the fabric content is slightly different than the other pairs. These are true to size, or size down if in between.
#3. Dolce Vita Izabel Slides // If the Mother Insiders are my most-worn bottoms this summer, these sandals are my most-worn shoes. They seem to go with everything, and I love the way the shiny studs add a little bit of bling to an outfit without being too precious. These are true to size, or size up if in between. I usually size down to a 7.5 in slides, but I have these in my regular size 8. They also come in other colors, but I particularly like this Cafe color because it’s very close to my skin tone, which is elongating and slimming.
#4. Wit & Wisdom Ab-Solution Denim Shorts // I’m cheating because I actually purchased these LAST summer, but I’ve worn them so much this year, and they’re still available, that I thought they deserve a mention. I find most shorts very uncomfortable, unless they’re baggy and then they’re not very flattering. These are both flattering and comfortable. Win-Win! These shorts run true to size, or you may want to size down if in between. I have my usual size 6.
#5. Mother The Insider Crop Step Fray Flared Jeans in Fairest Of Them All // These are the same jeans as #1 except in white. I saw a woman wearing these in the Philly airport on our way to Florida last April, and I thought they looked so good on her, I decided to seek out a pair for myself. I really like them as an alternative to the white skinnies I’ve been wearing for years. They seem fresh and summery and casual, with the crop flare silhouette and the raw step hem, and I find myself wearing them a couple times a week. I would say they’re true to size, but they’re definitely snug, and I often wonder if I should have tried the next size up. All that to say, if ordering, you may want to try two sizes.
#6. Banana Republic Dolman Top // This top has come in so handy this summer. I wear it to church every few weeks, but I’ve also worn it to a funeral visitation as well as to a court hearing with one of my kids when I wanted to look conservative and professional. I can also bling it up for a date night if I want, so it’s highly versatile. As I mentioned yesterday, olive green is trending for fall, so I can see myself wearing this with sweaters and jackets on top until it gets too cold. It’s true to size.
#7. Canyon Raw Edge Tank // On the other end of the formality spectrum, this slub cotton tie dye tank with the raw edge detail is really fun for super casual summer looks. It has a slightly boho vibe, without being too hippy dippy trippy, so it pairs really well with jean shorts or distressed blue jeans. I find myself reaching for it when I want to look casual, cool, and comfortable. It’s true to size, or you could size up for a little more length.
#8. Dolce Vita Lester Slides // These were an unexpected win in my summer wardrobe! I picked them out to go with a specific outfit when I was doing a collaboration with Evereve, and I was surprised by how versatile they are. I find myself reaching for them several days a week — almost every time there is black in my outfit. They’re super casual, of course, but so am I, so I get a lot of wear out of them. Plus, since they’re so affordable, my cost per wear is mere pennies at this point. They’re true to size.
#9. Reverie Scoop Dress // This dress is also from a collaboration with Evereve. I use it mostly as a swimsuit coverup, but since I spend a lot of time by the pool, that means that I wear it a lot. It has pretty much replaced all my other coverups. I feel like it’s elevated but casual and appropriate for poolside living. I usually wear it with the Dolce Vita Lester slides. It’s true to size, I have the small.
#10. Treasure & Bond Twist Detail T-Shirt // This is such an easy, comfortable t-shirt, and yet the twist detail and the cuffed sleeves take it up a notch or two. Because it’s grey, it’s super versatile. I wear it a lot with blue jeans and white jeans and blue and white denim shorts, and also my olive utility pants. It’s also really cute under my yellow denim jacket…
Okay, so that’s it for best purchases, although really, there are so many more I could have added. I didn’t even touch on accessories, but I wanted to cap it at 10. Moving on to worst purchases!
This is the section people always find most interesting. I find it helpful because I was drawn to each of these items for one reason or another, so hopefully I can learn from these purchases and make better buying decisions going forward.
My 5 Worst Purchases of Spring/Summer 2021
Before we get started, my standard caveat still applies: These items aren’t bad, and most are things I actually like. I just didn’t end up wearing or using them all that much, and I regret these purchases because I did NOT get a good cost per wear out of them. Please don’t feel duped if you bought any of these off of my recommendation. They might work great for you; they just didn’t work for me.
I often get asked about what I do with the clothes that I pass on. I return unworn items, but the rest either go to friends and family or to a resale shop. My theory is, I’d rather have someone else enjoy them than let them clutter up my closet until they’re out of style. Because I do buy new clothes so regularly, it just doesn’t’ make sense to hold onto things I’m not wearing. Okay, let’s get started!
#1. Madewell Eyelet Ruffle Strap Top // I really like this top. In fact, I took it to Maine, planning to wear it for the 4th of July… But alas, our party was rained out, and it was a high of about 55 degrees that day, so I wore a long sleeve sweater instead.
Beyond that, I just haven’t found another opportunity to wear it. This top is a little outside of my comfort zone, so I really need just the right venue and occasion. I might hold onto it for next year, but even if I wear it once or twice before I decide to part with it, that doesn’t really justify the price tag. I do think I got it on sale… at least, I hope I did!
#2. Stuart Weitzman Sierra Woven Leather Flat Sandals // I think this is the saddest of my spring-summer purchases. I love, love, LOVE these sandals; and I really thought I’d wear them a lot. But i wore them once or twice, for short periods of time, and I quickly realized they just don’t stay on my feet. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that before I wore them out of the house; I think I was in denial because I liked them so much.
I figured they’d be okay — sort of like the Frame flip-flops from the #NSale, although I can actually wear those as long as I’m not doing too much walking. I did wear those around the house for a while to be sure, given that I had just sadly parted with these SW sandals. Both are beautiful sandals and excellent quality, but the footbeds are stiff and heavy, and the straps are just a little too wide for my flat, bony feet. I guess the Frame pair works because the strap is lower on the foot, closer to the ankle. All that to say, these went to a better home, to someone can actually use and enjoy them.
#3. Rag & Bone Cate Mid-Rise Ankle Skinny Raw-Hem Jeans // This was definitely not a smart purchase. I knew when I bought these jeans that I was moving away from skinnies, but I thought I wanted a light wash pair, and I really like the chewed hem. Plus, they were on sale, so there’s that. But every time I went to wear them, I ended up changing into something else, so I finally decided it was time to part with them.
I may regret it, come fall… I dunno. Sometimes I get rid of things I’m not wearing, and when the season changes, I realize they would have worked for me. I could have put these in my “maybe” bin, but I decided to let someone else enjoy them while they’re still in style. Oh, also, the 9″ inseam is no longer comfortable to me. I just remembered, that’s the other reason I decided to give them away and not keep for fall.
Isn’t it funny how 9″ used to feel like high rise, and now it feels low? Maybe it’s my mid-life middle getting more in the way, I don’t know, but I much prefer jeans with a 10″ – 11″ rise.
#4. AGOLDE Parker Distressed Denim Shorts // I debated including these, because I do like them, and I have worn them a few times. But I definitely didn’t get a low enough cost per wear to justify the purchase, and I’m probably not going to keep them for next season. I have just come to the conclusion that I’m done with the 3″ inseam. That, along with the intense distressing, and I feel these are crossing over into try-hard territory. It’s totally a gut-check decision. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, when two years ago, I would have felt perfectly comfortable in these shorts. But I’m on the brink of turning 50, and my legs aren’t as toned as they used to be, and I just feel a lot more comfortable in shorts with a 4″ or 5″ inseam these days.
I always say that these type of decisions are not about age, but about personal style and comfort level, and I stand by that. There may be women out there in their 50s and 60s wearing these and feeling great in them, and that’s awesome. But for me, I’m just not feeling it anymore.
Incidentally, I also just passed on the Hudson Gemmas (pictured above with the Canyon tie dye tank) for the same reason. While they don’t have such intense distressing, the last time I wore them, I felt self-conscious about the length, and that’s when I decided it was time to say good-bye to my 3″ inseams. So I guess that means, they’re #5!
#5. Hudson Gemma Shorts // Again, I really like these shorts, but I don’t feel comfortable in them, so I didn’t wear these very much. Maybe if I’d sized up, I would keep them for another season, but not only are they quite short, they have a way of riding up in unfortunate places… as denim shorts are wont to do when you buy your regular size. The problem is, when I size up, the leg opening is wider and looks dumpy on me because I have wide hips and thin legs. This is why you see me wearing jeans or utility joggers so often in my daily outfits. I just don’t find shorts very comfortable, so I opt for pants or jeans on all but the hottest of days.
So that’s that! Again, please don’t feel offended if you bought any of these items on my recommendations. I truly like each one. They just didn’t work out for me.
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